Digitober and Get Online Week 

Throughout October, (Digitober), our Digital Inclusion Team has been working to promote and better integrate digital inclusion throughout the city.

This month, the team met with Mustard Tree and Barnabus, to ensure that they are taking the right steps towards integrating Digital Inclusion into the heart of what they do.

Get Online Week took place from 16 – 22 October. The team organised an event at Newton Heath Library and attended one at Parish Church of the Apostles. The Newton Heath Library event introduced residents to organizations such as The Blair Project, Reform Radio, Citizen’s Advice Manchester and more. The event took place in Newton Heath, as this is the area where residents are most at risk of digital exclusion, according to the Digital Exclusion Risk Index.

Green Libraries Week

Tudor talking to attendees

Green Libraries Week took place from 2 – 8 October, it was an opportunity to celebrate all things green.

All across libraries young people were offered green themed stories and the ever-popular Fun Palaces at the Forum, Longsight and North libraries included interesting and fun climate awareness activities.

Many books on biodiversity, sustainability and climate change were promoted in libraries. Numerous books on the environment are also highlighted on the online catalogue.

Central library welcomed Tudor Barker, the Council Climate Neighbourhood Officer for Central Area, who held a stall on Climate change. Residents could stop and have a chat about what they could do locally and learn about their carbon footprint. Tudor will be back on the 4th of November.

Overall, it has been a great occasion to showcase many of our services that promote reducing, re-using and recycling, such as device donation. You can still drop your old laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone at your local library. It will be refurbished and made it available to Manchester residents at low-cost or for free.

Take 10 to Read

Christie Hospital staff pictures with books

This year’s Take 10 To Read on Tuesday 10 October was a great opportunity to work with our communities in Manchester to promote taking time out to read for pleasure, and we made the most of it!

For the first time Read Manchester worked with The Christie hospital to support the mental wellbeing of staff, patients, friends and families by providing a range of free books and talking to people in the hospital about the benefits of reading to support mental wellbeing. 1000 books were given out at the main hospital site and 300 further books at the three satellite sites, with some great feedback – one patient told us “It is really hard coming to the hospital, but this has brightened my day”.

At Parrs Wood and Abraham Moss, pupils met author Josh Silver to explore themes in his book ‘HappyHead’ around happiness, identity and relationships, and children from Brookburn and Newall Green primaries visited Chorlton and Forum Libraries to ‘Make some Noise’ with poet Dommy B to celebrate Take 10. Read more at our Manchester Libraries blog.

Summer Reading Challenge Winners and Sports Activity at Newton Heath Library

Children taking part in the indoor sports activity

North area Libraries were lucky to have two Summer Reading Challenge goody bag winners selected this year! Newton Heath Library’s winner was Alice who was very pleased with her prize as her mum told us:

“Alice is over the moon with her prize and we just wanted to say thank you! We’re currently waiting to board a flight for our holiday and Alice brought one of the books she won with her, she is loving it! Thank you again.”

Newton Heath Library also hosted a fantastic children’s sports activity as part of the October half term holiday programme. Manchester Active, the Youth Sports Trust and Manchester Libraries joined up to create an offer to get families moving with some fun family activity sessions. Attendees also had the option to borrow a bag of sports equipment to take away and play at home, both outdoors and indoors in case of rainy weather – this is Manchester after all! With the aid of a fun video showing the activities, Manchester Active staff demonstrated a few simple challenges for families to follow and the children really had a wonderful time.

Men’s Health event for Black History Month at Withington Library

Photograph of Cindy and Dennis

Withington Library staff ran a men’s health and wellbeing event aimed for Caribbean and African men, as well as their family and friends. A range of stalls offered information around important topics and support such as; free health checks, social prescribing, health awareness, and information about prostate and bowel cancer. 

Two thought-provoking films from Mandem Meetup and Shooting Creatives were screened at the library, which encouraged some great conversations, questions and sharing of information.

Attendees enjoyed some tasty Caribbean food, allowing them to enjoy, relax and share conversation each other. Thank you to staff members Cindy and Dennis for working with partners and various organisations to make this event happen.

Shakespeare workshops at Central Library

Central Library staff delivered their first two Shakespeare workshops with schools and focused on Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Nights Dream. Artist, Lorraine Rudyard used wire to create a range of characters from the plays. The children really enjoyed making their own creations too, which will be displayed on the 1st floor of Central library. A further four workshops will be delivered in schools across Manchester.

National Poetry Day at Abraham Moss Library

Dominic Berry with a children from Abraham Moss Community School

Abraham Moss Library staff invited their first guest author, Dominic Berry for National Poetry Day! Dominic was hilarious and engaging as he performed poems from his new book ‘Make Some Noise’ and encouraged the children to think about stories, characters, rhyme, rhythm and beats in a really expressive way. The Year 3 children and their teachers from Abraham Moss Community School really enjoyed meeting Dominic and getting involved with his lively performances.

Black History Month – Sheroes & Heroes 

To celebrate Black History Month, library staff planned some wonderful activities for Arcadia, Gorton, Hulme, Longsight & Powerhouse Libraries where children could make their own inspirational Sheroes & Heroes! Children and families were encouraged to think about the people who have inspired them before creating a little model of them using wooden peg doll planks, paints, wool and stickers. Sheroes and Heroes included “My Mum” and also people such as the first Olympic female Boxing Gold medal winner, Nicola Adams, civil rights activist, Rosa Parks, and rugby player, Zainab Alema. Footballer, Kylian Mbappé was a firm favourite of some of the older boys!

One of the mums said; “Thanks for celebrating Black History Month, that remembers those women who were supportive for community. I salute those women!”.

North City Library Fun Palace

M9 Choir singing in the library

North City Library was one of four lively Fun Palace events held across the city on Saturday 7 October for this national celebration of sharing passions and skills. These are hugely popular family fun days packed with creative activities. Attendees enjoyed a singalong with the wonderful M9 Choir, and Italian dance masters Matrafisc returned with a cool dance activity for everyone!

A wonderful LEGO Photo Exhibition was displayed in the library and a challenge was set to see who could build the most imaginative Fun Palace from LEGO, with a prize for each of the winners!

As it was Green Libraries Week, activities included making flower pots out of recycled plastic bottles, and creating drawstring bags to decorate and use to carry home a free book each! Climate Change Officer, Ash Farrah joined in helping with themed games and a jigsaw activity. Minimal impact on the environment was a huge goal for the activities, for example, no glitter, new plastic or paper was used.

Longsight Library Fun Palace

Longsight Fun Palace was a busy afternoon full of creativity, learning and sharing. Celebrating Green Libraries week, the Neighbourhood Climate Officer shared tips and ideas and information on how to help,,,,  Library staff planted tree seeds with families and talked about the importance of trees and their ability to capture and store carbon. One young person’s feedback to us was “it was amazing I got a tree!”

Lancashire Wildlife Trust join us to make seed bombs with attendees and encouraged them to scatter them around to encourage and sustaining biodiversity. Local photographer, Roxana Allison lead a ‘camera-less’ photography workshop using the cyanotype technique, which was wildly popular.

Ali Mac from Olympias Music Foundation played folk music on his percussion instruments which was inspired by the rhythms of nature. Wai-yin brought along their calligraphy brushes and ink and taught participants how to use it. Lovely refreshments included the fantastic Arabic coffee and sweets available by Rethink Rebuild.

Forum Library Fun Palace

Forum Library staff arranged another fabulous Fun Palace with a range of activities for attendees, including hand massages, nail art and face painting, all provided by The Women’s Group. Local artist Mandy Cleveland ran a fabulous art session inspired by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, children loved creating brightly coloured dotty works of art! Library staff also ran various creative activities where children enjoyed making flying rockets, fabric flags and fridge magnets. As always, the LEGO activity was also very popular too.

Staff from the Woodhouse Park Family Centre joined the Forum Fun Palace to deliver mindful crafts and yoga sessions, it was great to see a wide range of age groups all practicing yoga together! Neighbourhood Climate Officer, Lorna came along with some fun games to challenge people about their recycling and green knowledge. It was such a busy Fun Palace with lots of great conversations taking place as the community came together for a fun afternoon.